Track Trends: West Coast boasts highest average field size

Track Trends: West Coast boasts highest average field size
Photo: Sue Kawczynski / Eclipse Sportswire

Field size, of concern to the entirety of racing, has been particularly subject to ridicule for the West Coast so far this year. Del Mar's opening weekend numbers strongly suggest that summer racing will not follow suit. 

Over 13 races contested on the grass, the average field size was 11.5 runners. For comparison, the average field size on the inner turf at Saratoga was 10.4 runners during opening week. These Del Mar turf numbers were the highest average field size of any surface or any track throughout the country.

Main track field size was the highest at Del Mar of any dirt surface, exceeding the 6.6 average for the week at 9.0. 

Del Mar Power Picks are available for horseplayers interested in getting involved in the action this week. Through opening week, the top Power Pick won 25 percent of the time. 

Not to be outdone, Saratoga continued with strong numbers in the second week of the meet. More long shots won on the inner turf course than on either surface at Del Mar, with favorites successful in only one of 10 races. On the Mellon turf course, only 8 percent of favorites were successful. Average field size was 8.1 for the inner and 7.8 for the outer. 

For insight on how to play Saratoga this week, tune in to the Horse Racing Nation Weekly Preview. Tonight at 9:30 o.m. EDT, Sara Elbadwi will be joined by Jeff Bessa, creator of Charting Horse Value

Even with an upset in the Haskell, Monmouth Park proved fairly formful. On the main track, favorites were successful 44 percent of the time with an average field size of 7.1. On the grass, favorites won seven of 14 races with an average field size of 8.6. Long shots helped bolster the average payout on the turf, however, as that was a healthy $20.14 for a $2.00 win wager.

The favorite win rate declined overall for the week, with the chalk winning at 37 percent. This is down from the prior week's 39 percent. More races were run at 791, up slightly from the 782 held the week ended July 17.

Turf racing remained the best place to find value, with the favorite win rate dropping to 30 percent. Although fewer turf events were contested in comparison to other tracks, Delaware Park saw an average field size of 10.0 and a low favorite win rate of 20 percent. 

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